By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Restaurants | Issue: November 2011
Rita Strack, Pat Hoar and Nancy Vue share their experiences working in the Owasso community for McDonald’s.
If you’ve been missing your sausage biscuits in the morning or a Big Mac to get you through the afternoon, your problem is now solved. The McDonald’s restaurant on 76th Street in Owasso has been rebuilt and is now open to serve you again. The original store opened in 1982 and became a landmark in Owasso, but many didn’t realize how often they ran through to grab some lunch, a drink or a snack until the business was closed for three months to be completely demolished and rebuilt.
Customer Doris Robinson said she runs through the drive-through almost every morning to get her oatmeal and milk on the way to work. “They recognize my voice when I order, always have a smile and it’s just a nice part of my morning routine.” When the 76th Street location closed, she began using the location on Highway 20 to show her appreciation for the local business that is so supportive of the Owasso community. “After hearing about how McDonald’s was keeping their employees on the payroll by having them work in the community, I thought it was worth it to go out of my way, even though my office is on 76th Street,” says Doris.
She’s talking about what McDonald’s owners Tim and Patty Rich refer to as “paid volunteer work” completed by many of their employees from the 76th Street location while it was being rebuilt. There wasn’t enough work for everyone at the Highway 20 and Walmart locations, so instead of the employees losing their jobs, or going weeks without a paycheck, many chose to work at several community businesses, agencies and schools in Owasso while still earning their McDonald’s salary from Tim and Patty.
Twelve different agencies benefited, including Rejoice Schools and Children’s Church, Bailey Medical Center, Standing in the Gap ministries, First Christian Church, Owasso Technology Center, and the Owasso Chamber of Commerce. The Pregnancy Resource Center of Owasso, The Owasso Community Center, Owasso Community Resources and the Baptist Retirement Center were the main focus of the efforts.
McDonald’s Harry Lossing said there was $120,000 budgeted for the project and all was spent. “We had 40 employees spread over the volunteer sites, and we’ve had nothing but positive responses from our employees and those they assisted as well.” He and his wife Beverly supervised the project and enjoyed the positive atmosphere exhibited by all.
Rita Strack, manager of the 76th Street McDonald’s, said she didn’t even know that the Pregnancy Resource Center of Owasso existed until she began working there, sorting baby food and clothing donations and reorganizing their boutique, making much better use of the limited space. She wasn’t the only one who enjoyed her time there; the girls at PRCO actually threw her a going-away party when she left. “It gave me a place to go while the store was closed – I kind of felt orphaned. It was a great experience to help out.”
Nancy Vue spent her time at the Owasso Community Center and said she did a lot of talking and sharing. Nancy is a college student and doesn’t have older family members here, so spending time with the seniors playing Canasta, eating, quilting and listening to their experiences encouraged her to stay in school and made her feel even more connected to the community. She says most importantly, she built a lot of relationships she will carry with her.
Pat Hoar also benefited from the seniors she spent time with at the Evergreen Care Center. Pat is a gregarious and outgoing lady herself and said she found some feisty seniors she enjoyed meeting. “One lady wouldn’t come out of her room when I visited unless I went and got her personally; it made my day. We really bonded.” Pat spent her time at Evergreen as a resident companion, reading to the residents, opening their mail for them, taking walks and playing dominoes. “Just helping them get involved makes such a difference in their lives. So many don’t have visitors on a regular basis, and they just want someone to talk to.” Pat also helped out with the Health Fair at the Community Center and shared healthy food tips.
Brenda Raleigh, MSN, RN, and executive director of Pregnancy Resource Center Owasso, summed up the community response in a recent letter to Tim and Patty Rich: “We have been so very blessed by the employees you have sent! You wanted your employees to grow, but I want you to know how much we have grown too!”
The brand new state-of-the-art McDonald’s is now reopened, and everyone is back in their regular spots, trained on the latest and greatest equipment, and ready to serve your favorite foods hot and fresh. Be sure to check it out soon!